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FlamesNation Mailbag: we still talkin’ playoffs

Friends, we got a lot of mailbag questions this week. So many that we decided to do a second mailbag edition this week to get to them all.

So, let us continue our dive through the mailbag!

Who wants to look at a big table of numbers?

Here’s Mark Giordano’s numbers in what I’ll affectionately refer to as the Better Data Era and we’ll be looking Per-60 rates for Corsi, Scoring Chances and High-Danger Chances both For and Against (data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick):

Season Age CF/60 CA/60 SCF/60 SCA/60 HDCF/60 HDCA/60
08-09 25 68.43 46.54 29.88 20.71 13.21 8.25
09-10 26 56.19 46.54 22.41 18.32 8.23 6.52
10-11 27 59.47 51.80 25.75 21.18 9.22 7.93
11-12 28 52.36 56.95 23.04 24.67 8.69 8.81
12-13 29 49.09 54.30 23.74 24.91 10.04 9.67
13-14 30 54.81 47.98 24.25 21.94 9.52 9.84
14-15 31 52.91 56.38 23.89 23.99 8.98 10.05
15-16 32 55.01 54.44 26.05 24.43 9.67 10.68
16-17 33 59.52 50.58 24.86 22.49 10.02 8.41
17-18 34 71.28 52.31 31.24 22.97 13.57 8.85
18-19 35 65.32 48.59 29.89 22.99 11.68 9.92
19-20 36 60.32 53.93 28.08 25.62 9.97 9.14

 

By his offensive underlyings, Mark Giordano had his worst season since 2016-17 (Corsi For rate), 2016-17 (Scoring Chance For rate) or 2015-16 (High-Danger Chances For rate).

By his defensive underlyings, he had his worst season since 2015-16 (Corsi Against rate), ever (Scoring Chances Against rate) or 2018-19 (High-Danger Chances Against rate).

Did his numbers regress? Well, yeah. Did any of them crater? Well, the Scoring Chances Against rate isn’t ideal, but everything else on both sides of his game took a half-step back. But the moves Brad Treliving made at the trade deadline – bringing in Erik Gustafsson and Derek Forbort – were designed to spread out his minutes a bit and keep Giordano (young and) fresh for as long as possible. I’d expect to see some future moves to be made with that in mind.

The Flames have approximately 17,000 left shot defenders kicking around, including Mark Giordano, Noah Hanifin, Juuso Valimaki, Connor Mackey, Oliver Kylington and Colton Poolman. So, they’re probably set for lefties.

On the right side, they have Rasmus Andersson and some big gaping holes. So unless TJ Brodie and/or Travis Hamonic sign hometown-friendly deals to stick around, they’re going to market. And the right-handed market isn’t amazing. After the likes of Tyson Barrie, Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, it goes to Chris Tanev, Radko Gudas, Dylan DeMelo, Justin Braun and Cody Ceci.

In other words: beyond the guys that are going to be expensive, it gets lean very quickly.

If the choice is winning a Stanley Cup or keeping Juuso Valimaki exempt from expansion, they’re using Valimaki. Beyond that, they’re probably going to do what they can to avoid it. So the scenario they have to be in is: win three more playoff rounds and be down to six healthy defensemen.

It’s not likely, but you never know.

It would probably depend on how they lose. The big issue against Colorado (and Anaheim, twice) was that they went down without much of a fight. If they continue to play a physical, tough game and go down swinging, then Brad Treliving probably looks to make tinkers rather than do anything seismic.

We’ll be getting into the Cam Talbot of it all later this summer, but he’s making an excellent case for future NHL employment (especially with the Flames). There’s a fit here and mutual interest. We’ll see what happens.

As far as the other goalie spot, here’s the big question: are the Flames willing to lose the cost certainty of David Rittich, signed to a pretty good $2.75 million cap hit and who put up great results in the first parts of the past two seasons, and roll the dice on an unknown. They know how Rittich performs and how he fits, and he’s signed. There’s value there.

Pending UFA goalies include: Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom, Corey Crawford, Mike Smith, Robin Lehner, Craig Anderson, Aaron Dell, Thomas Greiss, Brian Elliott and Anton Khudobin. The UFAs that are definitively an upgrade over Rittich would be too expensive, and the guys that are affordable are either well into their 30s or pretty untested.

If it were up to me? Keep Rittich, re-sign Talbot for another season or two, and then figure out a plan from there.